Highlights from nearly two decades of transformative wins in the Bay Area and California.

Read more about TransForm’s impact areas and how we measure outcomes.

Recent Successes

AB 744 passes in 2015

TransForm proudly co-sponsored this revolutionary bill, which promises to help address our state’s growing threat of displacement and impacts of climate change.

AB 744 (Chau) requires cities to dramatically lower parking requirements for affordable, senior and special needs housing near public transit. AB 744 will also create a powerful incentive for market rate developers to maximize the number of affordable homes they include.

Mapping California's Climate Investments

In July 2015, TransForm launched ClimateBenefitsCA.org, a searchable online map to show how investments from California’s cap-and-trade program are improving people’s lives.

ClimateBenefitsCA.org is the only place you can see the full impact of cap-and-trade investments in one place.  It makes the case for strengthening California’s climate program - not just for our own benefit - but also so others around the world are inspired to adopt a climate protection program that is rooted in justice, tackling economic inequality as a strategy for environmental success.

2014 CA Climate Investments

California’s first-in-the-nation cap-and-trade program is projected to generate billions of dollars over the coming years. These funds must be used to further reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs).  TransForm, through our work with the Sustainable Communities for All Coalition, advocated for the state to prioritize investments in more transportation and housing choices, especially those that benefit low-income Californians.

The state budget approved in July 2014 reflected our efforts, allocating 60% of cap-and-trade revenues to public transportation, sustainable communities, and affordable homes near transit for the first three years of the program.  These investments are poised to bring transformative change to communities throughout the state.

2014 The Bay Area's first Bus Rapid Transit project breaks ground in San Jose

San Jose will soon enjoy a seven-mile stretch of exceptional bus service on the busiest transit corridor in Santa Clara County along the Capitol Expressway, Alum Rock Avenue and Santa Clara Street.

Bus Rapid Transit is revolutionizing bus service around the world by harnessing the best features of rail, including bus-only lanes. TransForm has been engaging community members in the planning of the San Jose project for several years. The final adopted project strongly reflects what the community wanted, including how it will integrate bike/ped improvements, art, and local history. 

GreenTRIP Certified Development with Zero Parking

Too often, opportunities for good development near transit ends up as projects with massive parking structures, pricey units, and more traffic. That’s why we started GreenTRIP, TransForm’s certification program, in 2008. 

Garden Village, a proposed 77-unit building in Berkeley with 10% very-low-income units, faced a lot of local opposition due to concerns about traffic. So our GreenTRIP program worked with the developers to rethink the project. They eliminated an expensive parking garage in favor of car sharing, free transit passes for residents, and 200 bike parking spaces.  Opposition turned to overwhelming support.

2013 the Governor signs AB 1371: give cyclists 3 feet

TransForm supported the California Bicycle Coalition in building intense grassroots pressure on legislators and the Governor in support of this common-sense law, AB 1371.

2013 The Bay Area adopts a regional plan that goes farther than any other in the country to focus growth in existing developed areas

Three years of advocacy yielded a groundbreaking victory when the Bay Area adopted its Sustainable Communities Strategy, Plan Bay Area. The plan is bolder than any regional plan in the country in terms of reining in sprawl, and directs all new development within the existing urban footprint. Also part of the plan, the groundbreaking OneBayArea Grant Program will reward cities that build more compact homes affordable to all incomes near transit. 

2013 Urban-Focused Safe Routes to Schools Program grows to 100+ schools

TransForm started a pilot project of the Safe Routes to Schools program in 2006 at two schools in Oakland in hopes of bringing the success of the Marin County program to more urban and low-income areas. Today, the Alameda County Safe Routes to Schools Partnership works in more than 100 public elementary, middle, and high schools – and is seen as a national model.

The Bay Area’s Safe Routes to Transit program makes it safer and easier to get to public transportation.

This first-in-the-nation Safe Routes to Transit grant program, conceived by TransForm and Bike East Bay, has funded over 50 projects from the Berkeley Bike Station to a bike/ped highway overcrossing in Santa Rosa to bike sharing in San Jose. See all the projects.

Transformative Wins

2012 Regional plans break new ground in supporting transit, walking & biking

Southern California’s new regional transportation plan triples funding for walking and biking, and devotes almost half of transportation dollars to public transportation. Meanwhile, Sacramento’s plan includes a doubling of existing transit service and an increase in bike lanes by 77%!  ClimatePlan, which TransForm co-founded and fiscally sponsors, supported advocates in both regions in achieving these groundbreaking victories.

2012 A new law integrates health and equity in transportation planning

Sponsored by TransForm and the Californian Pan-Ethnic Health Network, AB 441 requires the state to update its guidelines for Regional Transportation Plans to include strategies that can improve health and reduce health disparities. AB 441 is the first bill sponsored by TransForm to become a law and represents the increasing impact of our statewide work.

2012 A Bus Rapid Transit victory starts a transportation revolution in the Bay Area

After years of community engagement and advocacy, TransForm was thrilled when final votes approved bringing true Bus Rapid Transit with dedicated bus lanes to the East Bay. This project will showcase what’s possible in the Bay Area: fast, reliable, frequent, and comfortable buses at a fraction of the cost of rail.

2012 The Sonoma-Marin train breaks ground

The North Bay witnesses a huge moment for better transportation choices with the groundbreaking of the Sonoma-Marin train and accompanying bike/pedestrian pathway. TransForm has advocated for this project for many years.

A cutting-edge loan fund helps affordable housing developers be able to build in places with good public transportation

Working with our partners in the Great Communities Collaborative, we laid the groundwork for the new Bay Area Transit-Oriented Affordable Housing Fund. This pioneering $50 million revolving loan fund helps affordable housing developers build in areas near public transportation that they are increasingly priced out of. 

One of the first projects the loan fund financed is a green, affordable, mixed-use senior housing development in San Jose that will offer free transit passes to all residents.

Campaign against BART's Oakland Airport Connector

TransForm led a campaign to have BART rethink the Oakland Airport Connector project, with a price tag of nearly $500,000,000. We advocated for an alternative project that would have cost 75% less, made local stops, and would have lead to a shorter door-to-door time for riders.

Working with Public Advocates, Urban Habitat, and Genesis we filed a successful federal civil rights complaint, leading to a range of mitigations and a top-to-bottom social justice review at BART. While the project was ultimately approved by a divided BART Board, it caused big changes at the agency. Nationally, the Federal Transit Administration used the project to show how other megaprojects need to be more cost-efficient and take low-income riders into account.   

California adopts ambitious transportation emissions reductions targets for the 18 major regions as part of SB 375

TransForm, especially through ClimatePlan’s efforts statewide and as part of SB 375, pushed regions to adopt much stronger emissions reductions targets than originally proposed. Now, if regions achieve these ambitious targets, they will have to make huge, transformative changes in how transportation funds are spent and where development happens.

Regions are now required to create and implement a Sustainable Communities Strategy: a plan for meeting emissions reduction targets through better public transportation, integrated land use planning, more affordable homes near transit, and bicycle/pedestrian improvements.

2010 The TransBay Transit Center breaks ground in SF

TransForm, working with SPUR and other groups, pushed for this project for more than a decade to be the cornerstone of a truly regional public transportation system.

2010 5 Bay Area counties pass local fees to fund transportation

Voters in five Bay Area counties – Alameda, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, and Santa Clara County – approved $10 vehicle registration fees to help pay for a range of transportation purposes, from transit to repaving. TransForm supported all of these measures and more importantly, the passage of SB 83 in 2009. SB 83 gives counties across the state the ability to levy a $10 vehicle registration fee to fund local transportation needs with voter approval. 

TransForm has long advocated for user fees, where vehicle owners pay for their use of and impacts on the transportation system (as compared with other mechanisms such as sales taxes).

2010 Bay Area brings SR2S programs to the region

The Bay Area’s first-in-the-nation program to fund projects that reduce emissions and driving, the Climate Initiatives Program, awarded its first grants. This included: Safe Routes to Schools programs in all nine counties; a bike-sharing pilot project between San Francisco, San Mateo, and Santa Clara counties; a to-the-minute ridesharing program in Marin, Sonoma, and Contra Costa counties; and much more.

2009: Biggest victory yet in the Bay Area transportation planning process

The Bay Area’s regional transportation plan is a huge opportunity to shape the future of the nine-county region and our quality of life – and has been the centerpiece of TransForm’s work since we were founded. 

2009 represented an especially big year in terms of wins within the plan. TransForm, leading a powerful collation, successfully advocated for: a doubling of funding to ensure low-income communities can get to jobs and health care on transit; $5 million per year for regional Safe Routes to Schools grants; and $1 billion over 25 years to build the regional bike network.

2008 Bay Area designates millions to Climate Initiatives Program

After two years of advocacy by TransForm, the Bay Area’s Metropolitan Transportation Commission awarded $80 million for a first-in-the-nation program to fund innovative solutions that reduce emissions from driving. Especially gratifying: $28 million of the $80 million had been recommended for highway ramp meters, but the outcry from TransForm activists and our partners changed this. The program ultimately funded regional bikesharing, new ride-sharing apps, and a grant program for climate-focused Safe Routes to School programming.

2006 Great Communities Collaborative Launches

TransForm co-founded the Great Communities Collaborative to engage people in planning processes around the Bay Area with significant new growth happening near transit. The Great Communities Collaborative believes – and proves – that when planning genuinely involves residents in shaping their common future, new growth supports more affordable homes, parks, safer streets, local businesses, plus greater diversity and sustainability. 

The Great Communities Collaborative went on to become a national model with awards from the American Planning Association and recognition from White House officials on its unique and powerful approach to community engagement.

2005 The Bay Area adopts transit-oriented development policy

TransForm coordinated a campaign, with partners including Greenbelt Alliance and the Non-Profit Housing Association of Northern California, for a regional transit-oriented development policy. The policy requires cities to plan for new development near future public transportation stations before the city can receive funds for transit expansion projects.

Without supportive policies like these, major public transportation projects are often built without adding new homes, shops, and walkability nearby – a lost opportunity. 

2004 Contra Costa County brings a sprawl-busting program to life

TransForm brought together 39 groups around the passage of Contra Costa County's transportation sales tax measure. Advocates successfully united around a strong plan that funded a first-of-its-kind smart growth program and designated $100 million for a Safe Transportation for Children program.

2004 Bay Area Voters Pass Regional Measure 2

TransForm, together with a powerful regional coalition, played a leading role in developing and passing the one-dollar bridge toll increase to fund transportation. Regional Measure 2 funds came to life across the Bay Area in ways from the All Nighter (buses that connect BART and Caltrain stations from 1 to 5 a.m.) to the first-in-the-nation Safe Routes to Transit grant program.

2000 Alameda country transportation sales tax yields $1b for transit, walking & biking

TransForm brought together a diverse coalition in Alameda County to win a new transportation sales tax measure, Measure B. Measure B dedicated 80% of funds to public transportation, paratransit, and bicycle/ pedestrian safety. It passed with an incredible 81% “yes” vote, while a similar measure in 1998 that divided environmental and social justice advocates failed with a 58% vote.

1998 Bay Area commits to creating a "smart growth blueprint"

TransForm, working with incredibly diverse partners, celebrated a landmark victory for the Bay Area. The Metropolitan Transportation Commission committed to creating "smart growth blueprint" to designate where investments and growth should – and shouldn’t – happen. Within a few years, other California region followed suit, with the Sacramento region creating a nationally-recognized plan. This type of blueprint planning ultimately becomes the basis for SB 375, California's landmark Sustainable Communities law.

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